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Food Expert Hanna Gullichsen

20.3.2019 Text: Helsinki This Week Photos: Antti Mutka
My Helsinki: Hanna Gullischen

WHO?
Hanna Gullichsen is a cook, successful author of cookery books and one of Finland’s most followed food experts. A mother of three, entrepreneur and passionate swimmer, she emphasises quality in everything, creates phenomena and speaks on behalf of equality, real butter and good everyday food.

Hanna, you are famous for being a passionate advocate for great food and now also a chef and food author. Why is food your thing?

Because there is nothing more wonderful than sitting around a table with your loved ones surrounded by great grub, wine and excellent conversations. I get a real kick out of people loving my cooking, and I’m always exhilarated when I get a message saying someone has cooked my recipe and succeeded. I get to work with the thing I love and it makes me happy, every day. I try to share my best recipes and tips on Instagram and I wish all foodies and those struggling with everyday cooking challenges can find answers to their questions through my account.

Last year, you published a cookbook. What kind of cookbook is it?

HANNA’S FAVOURITES

1. Grön
My absolute number one when I want to be surprised and sigh. I often choose this for a date night with my husband.
2. BasBas
A place where we celebrated our wedding and a restaurant where i always eat the entire menu. The best staff, the best atmosphere.
3. Carelia
A classic. The Setting is unique and beautiful, and the menu is brilliant. You can also get such great champagnes by the glass.
4. Pompier Espa
My favourte when I want to play it safe, they have the best lunch in town.
4. Kuurna
You can rely on their blackboard and recommendations. The bread is insanely good and the tiny bathroom has the best things for selfies.

I put a lot of time and effort into the book. In summer 2018, when social media was full of pictures of steaming hot weather, I was sweating in the kitchen. It was a lot of work and I loved it, the book is brilliant!

The book, Hanna G kokkaa, has three main themes. It is my own manifesto and I’m so proud of it. My food story of growing from a kitchen catastrophe into a chef tells my journey, and also how I became a chef. I’ve gathered everything I’ve learnt into tips from which every home cook can learn everything I know. From cooking a whole fish to the differences of salts and using oils, it’s all there in the book for you to learn! The third aspect is recipes, and they’re also a progressive learning journey, starting with the easy ones and saving the more challenging ones for the end.

You are originally from in northeastern Finland. Do you still cook something from your home town or maybe a specific dish you used to eat as a child?

I carry with me plenty of flavourful memories. Just yesterday, I cooked a cloudberry soup and enjoyed it warm. It brought back to me all the cold winter days of my childhood when my grandmother used to cook the soup for me. Food is a mighty power in bringing back memories.

You have also participated in the Perheet Safkaa (“Families Eat”) project. What is that all about?

The project encourages to bring children to restaurants. Kids should be seen and heard, they are not little adults and that shouldn’t be the goal, either. A rich urban culture gives space for us all. We have been taking our twin sons to restaurants ever since they were babies. For them, our favourite restaurant is a continuum of our home and they enjoy being in an environment they know. Of course, it takes practice and some days are easier than others, but children should definitely be where parents have spent time also before having kids.

What is your family’s favourite food?

We eat a lot of omelettes and pastas, no one has the patience to cook potatoes – in everyday life, fast cooking is key.

What would you show about Helsinki’s culinary culture to a tourist?

There is always a person behind each and every product and service, the soul of it all. It’s a blessing to know so many people who do everything from the bottom of their heart. I would introduce the tourist to people and tell stories that deserve to be told.

From a culinary perspective, Helsinki is quite the gem right now, it would be hard to decide what to show. We would have breakfast at Way or Kuuma, lunch in one of Helsinki’s market halls (Old Market Hall, Hakaniemi Market Hall and Hietalahti Market Hall). There are countless ridiculously great coffee roasteries and cafés, friends of natural wines have plenty of options to choose from and Helsinki has dinner options for all kinds of tastes.

Want to know more about Hanna? Hanna’s website is here (in Finnish).

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